Suggestion: Using Baseball analogy add Stastistics as a complement to the existing forums point system. RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Using the various baseball statistics as an analogy i am making a case to add statistics to the existing forums point system.


    In baseball you have various types of statistics on batting and pitching, averages, RBI, etc, I am taking that idea and suggesting it be brought to the forums as a complement to (not a replacement for) the existing point system.  Below is an analogy of some basic baseball stats and how we may implement the equivalent in the forums.


    Plat appearances = number of times a batter appears at the plate


    In forum terms this would be a post to any forum question or discussion.


    At Bats = plate appearance – walks – hit by pitch – sacrifices – reach on error


    In forum terms this would be a question (non-discussion) post to a moderated forum. 

    Using the baseball analogy posts to discussions and non-moderated forums should not count as an at bat but would be considered a plate appearance.


    Batting average = hits / at bats


    In forum terms this would be an answer to a question divided by an at bat as defined earlier.  (answers / posts to questions)


    This would measure the ability to provide an answer to a question in a moderated forum.


    Slugging percentage = total bases / at bats

    In forum terms this could be (votes ups on moderated questions *5 + answers * 10) / at bats.


    This would measure the ability to give good advice in moderated forums.


    On Base Percentage

    (Hits + Walks + Hit-By-Pitch) divided by (At Bats + Walks+ Hit-By-Pitch + Sac Flys)


    In forum terms this would be (answers*10 + vote ups on questions and discussions*5) / plate appearances


    This would measure the ability to give good advice in any forum (non-moderated and discussions included).


    The analogy could go on and on, but people should get the idea by now.  As with baseball there wouldn’t be any one criteria for measuring success in the forums.  Because baseball uses many stats role players are easy identified and valued.  For example, some people come off the bench to pitch hit, the DH is used, and some play in the majors for 10 years and average only .220 at the plate, while others hit many doubles and home runs but strike out a lot.  Just like in baseball the forums have role players that are not always identified via the current point/medal system, but are beneficial to the working of the Forums as a whole.  Using statistics we should be able to better identify these people and reward them for their efforts.


    Ok, I made my pitch, now I open this up for discussion.  This is a discussion of how to improve this idea, not to shoot it down, while criticism of the idea is welcome, criticism without a solution/suggestion is not very productive.


    Also, the technical details of how to program / setup / configure / etc, this to work is not being discussed, I’m not asking anyone to do this, I am simply discussing the idea.  If people like the idea and we can come up with some good stats that we would like to see, someone may take it on, or they may not, but first lets discuss it.


    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:03 PM

All replies

  • Ok, so lets elaborate on this idea a little, and acknowledge a few things about the current point system and associated medals.

    Currently, acquiring points is the only criteria a person needs to be recognized via Medals on the forums.  While answers get you there faster, it’s not a criteria that a user have a single answer credited to them to obtain a medal.  The current system benefits long term members, and encourages new comers to cheat and scam the system to obtain points, which gets them medals.  That system is clearly flawed.  You can talk all you want about its suppose to encourage this, and do that, but mostly those arguements don't hold up given peoples dislike of the point system/medals overall.   

    Newbies/Rookies in baseball are measured on the same scale as the veterans (long standing members), by their stats.  Their is no favortisms to veterans on the stats.  Below are a few common issues that people report and how stats could help solve those.

    Issue: Un-moderated forums

    Posts to un-moderated forums are not counted against your primary statistics for calculated against answers.  The issue here is whether we should allow/disallow answers from un-moderated forums to be included in primary statistics for answers.  Basically, I would say we calculate out all three combinations, at least until we identify which is the best indicator of a user that exemplifies some trait the forum values.


    Points per Moderated Question (PPMQ) = Moderated Answers / Posts to Answered Moderated Question


    Points per Un-moderated Question (PPUQ) = Un-moderated answers / Posts to Answered Un-moderated questions


    Points per Question (PPQ) = All Answers / posts to all answered questions



    Issue: Questions marked as answered but really aren’t.

    In baseball terms this is basically a Reach On Error, and should be treated as such.  How? Simple, my suggestions would be to use one of the following

    1)      Allow the moderator the option to mark the question as answered, but flag it somehow to indicate it’s not really answered (tentatively answered?).

    2)      Implement an abandoned thread option to allow a thread to be quasi closed without an answer.


    Statistically speaking this becomes a non issue.  Because the most meaningful stats will be based on an average, minor errors like this will only make up a small and progressively smaller percentage of users total points.  For this to be of any significance the moderator and users of the forums would not be doing their job.


    In my opinion the primary reason moderators marks answers that are clearly not, is because they need to, to do their job effectively.  They have no choice, their job practically requires it.  So either acknowledge that fact, or give them other alternatives.



    Issue: Questions left answered / abandoned

    This is another Reach on Error issue, like the previous issue, I would implement an abandoned thread option to allows a thread to be quasi closed without an answer….if this is really needed at all…


    In my baseball stats solution this becomes a non-issue because posts to these questions are not counted against you, it’s a free 2 points, but it has no effect on any of your stats.  This is because ultimately posts to a moderated question don’t count until the question is marked as answered.  This however would modify my previous at bat definition as follows.


    At bat = Post to an answered question in a moderated forum.  Until the question is marked as answered, posts to them are not counted when calculating an at bat.


    You will also notice that I made this distinction on my PPMQ/PPUQ/PPQ definition.


    Issue: Disscussion’s don’t have answers

    All posts to discussions are a free 2 points, but don’t count against stats based on Answers.  You could have stats based purely on discussions and Vote Up points, but unless they prove to be of significant value, i think they would be of little value.



    Issue: Moderator errors and marking incorrect or to many answers

    This is basically the same as the Questions marked as answered but really aren’t issue.


    Again, statistically speaking this becomes a non issue.  Because the most meaningful stats will be based on an average, minor errors like this will only make up a small and progressively smaller percentage of a user’s total points.  For this to be of any significance the moderator and users of the forums would not be doing their job.



    Issue: Troubleshooter vs Cherry picker

    Someone that spends a lot of time on difficult problems requiring a lot of posts will automatically have a lower Batting Average (Answering Average) and associated PPMQ/PPUQ/PPQ.  While someone that Cherry Picks ease questions would have a higher Answering Average.


    First, as many users have pointed out in posts wanting to get rid of the point system totally, this type of concern shouldn’t be your primary motivation to be using the forums.  If it is, you should move on.


    Secondly, what we are talking about are Roles people take on, usually based on their skill.  These roles are neither good or bad, or preferential over another.  If you want to troubleshoot, then do that, if you want to cherry pick, do that, if you want to do both, than do that.  You can’t get rid of this behavior, you can only choose to reward or discourage it.  Personally I would consider rewarding them both, thus showing no preference.


    My suggestions to reward both types of users

    1)      Identify and Reward the troubleshooter

    a.       This is done by classifying a question as troubleshooting question. The simplistic way would be based on the number of responses either in total (all users) or by a single user.  Example: more than 15 posts by all users, and/or more than 5 posts for an individual user.

    b.      Once you have a method of identifying troubleshooting questions, you can create a whole set of statistics based on that classification.

    TroubleShooting Answering Average = Answers to troubleshooting questions / Posts to answers to troubleshooting questions

    2)      Identify and Reward the cherry picker

    a.       Obviously this is inherent in the design of statistics, given that all stats will reward the quick answer. 

    b.      For example if you identify cherry questions, as ones answered in a single post by any one user and no more than 3 posts total.

    Cherry Answering Average = Answers to cherry questions / Posts to answers to cherry questions

    c.       Although, I think this would be an interesting stat I am not sure of it meaning fullness, for all we know people that engage in this activity may not be very good at it anyway.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010 4:57 PM